Posted by: Waheeda Harris | August 12, 2013

Should we protect graffiti?

New Orleans - BanksyAs a long-time fan of graffiti, I’ve always liked its fleeting presence. Its not easy to go back and see graffiti, unless its in a dedicated area.

In the past, graffiti appeared and disappeared. It was created in the moment, and if it later was tagged or painted over, that was the life cycle of this form of artwork.

But more people understand the value of graffiti as an artform, and they don’t want to see it disappear. They want to be able to go back and see it again and in the 21st century, create tours around it.

And I don’t blame them. Traditional art’s power is that a viewer can return to see it, to understand more about the piece and to be able to share in the experience.

Which is why graffiti’s transcendence into art has become interesting with the protection of graffiti – but not all graffiti.

Well-known artist Banksy has led this turning tide, with his popularity and skill – and the knowledge that his graffiti / art is worth money.

With his success, cities have decided to protect his creations – like Toronto and New Orleans.

This Banksy piece is found just off Frenchmen Street in Faubourg Marigny, and is now covered in plexiglass to preserve Banksy’s creation.

Its distinctively his style – the black and white stripes of the prisoner’s uniform paired again the pale blue wall.

Does this deserve protection? Should we elevate one artist of the alley and ignore the rest?

As a visitor to New Orleans, its a benefit to me to be able to visit a Banksy original on the street – I haven’t been able to see very many in person.

But should the creation have been left by the city of New Orleans? Allowing the natural progression of graffiti to eventually cover it up and have another artist use the space for their creativity?

I’m undecided – what do you think?

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